Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo ignited a firestorm of speculation when he told the Baltimore Sun that he knows four NFL players who are considering coming out publicly together. And soon. The problem? That's just not true.
After repeating his claim to Thomas Roberts on MSNBC this morning, Ayanbadejo appeared on CNN this evening. Anderson Cooper asked him if he knows these four players (video below). Ayanbadejo's response:
No, actually, what it is is, is there are organizations I'm in contact with, and there are individuals I'm in contact with and collectively we know of some gay players. And these players, some of them are anonymous, some of them we know who they are, but their identity is super secret and nobody wants to reveal who they are, and some of them don't want to reveal who they are, rightfully so because it's entirely up to them what they are going to do.
What we want to facilitate is getting them all together so they can lean on each other, so they can have a support group. And potentially it's possible, it's fathomable, that they could possibly do something together, break a story together.
I've got to repeat that: "Potentially it's possible, it's fathomable, that they could possibly do something together."
Let me translate: "I totally made a big mistake. I should have never said I know four NFL players talking about coming out. I don't. They're not. And I certainly should have never said it was going to happen very soon. I don't believe it's going to this year. I let my hope get the best of me, and I look forward to helping all gay athletes however I can."